A Newbie's First Year Guide to the Realms, was originally written by Steve & Amy Johnson.  Only while editing it to reflect the changes that have occurred in the game, did I truly gain an understanding of the amount of energy and care that went into the initial production. Steve and Amy’s impact on the Realms via the publications that they produced, events they have held, and many players they have trained and influenced is immeasurable.  They have my deepest thanks.

In addition I wish to thank those who assisted me by freely sharing their knowledge and feedback and not blocking my from their IM lists (or in Jason’s case not kicking me out of the house) on the days I had frequent questions.  This includes Andy Adams, Jason Gray, Nate Carr, Ian Struckoff, and Ian Pushee, and especially Dave Hayden.  In addition thanks to the many who attempted to share their opinions, but were thwarted by the email gremlins that plagued me.  While I don’t know specifically who falls into that category, I know many do.

Thanks also to Doug Fisher for assistance with formatting the printed version, and Dave Hayden for assistance formatting the electronic version.Thanks also to The Creathorne Chronicles for printing assistance.

While I have mentioned this in the text, I can not stress enough that this document is a guide.  The Omnibus is the official rulebook of the Realms.  The Omnibus is distributed annually and can be accessed on-line at www.realmsnet.net.  If you find any discrepancy between this guide and the Omnibus, you are obligated to follow the Omnibus.   If you notice any discrepancies, have any suggestions for, or would like to help with future updates of this guide, please email me at aegray@adelphia.net

Angela Earle Gray

Terms and Definitions.................................................................................................................
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Eventing.....................................................................................................................................
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Checking In................................................................................................................................
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          PreRegistration.................................................................................................................
7
          At The Door....................................................................................................................
7
          Reading of the Rules ........................................................................................................
8
          Attitude is Everything........................................................................................................
8
Roleplaying Basics .....................................................................................................................
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          Creating a Character .......................................................................................................
10
          A Matter of Life and Limb ..............................................................................................
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          Currency and Theft .........................................................................................................
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          Non-Human Races .........................................................................................................
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          Nobility and Titles ...........................................................................................................
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          Knights and Squires ........................................................................................................
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          IC and OOC Knighthoods ..............................................................................................
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Magic ........................................................................................................................................
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          What Non-Mages Need to Know ...................................................................................
17
Safety When Eventing ................................................................................................................
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          The Safety Rules .............................................................................................................
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          The Hold Rule .................................................................................................................
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          Safety Considerations ......................................................................................................
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Gear - Items to Bring to Events ..................................................................................................
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          For Comfort and Safety ...................................................................................................
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          Camping Supplies ............................................................................................................
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          Feast Gear ......................................................................................................................
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          The Bare Minimum ..........................................................................................................
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          Fancy Additions ..............................................................................................................
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Garb on the Cheap and Easy......................................................................................................
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          Tops ...............................................................................................................................
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          Shoes and Boots .............................................................................................................
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          Headwear and Accessories .............................................................................................
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          Special Garb Solutions for Women ..................................................................................
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          Unusual or Non-European Garb ......................................................................................
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Sources of Inspiration ................................................................................................................
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          Movies ...........................................................................................................................
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          Books ............................................................................................................................
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          Music .............................................................................................................................
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Terms and Definitions

If you have never played a live action role playing game before, here are some of the terms that you'll need to know. Please note that all terms and information relating to combat can be accessed in the Omnibus or the Complete Guide to Boffers.

Boffers

Boffers are the sport that is used to resolve combat between characters in the game. This sport, often referred to as "Light Weapons Combat", involves sparring with padded weapons (boffs). One of the key aspects of light weapons combat to always keep in mind is that you are supposed to hit your opponents as lightly as possible and you are supposed to take even the lightest blows. Given this, light weapons combat, when played properly, is an extremely safe and enjoyable sport that anyone can play.

Chivalry

Chivalry is a term used to refer to someone acting honorable in-character. We use the term 'chivalrous' to make it clear that we aren't referring to whether or not they play by the rules.

E-Questing

Some Event Holders offer players the opportunity to interact in-character on the Internet between events.  This allows for additional character development and role playing.  These interactions are not standardized, and how they occur is determined by the specific Event Holder running the e-quest.  If you are interested in becoming involved in this aspect of the Realms a good way to start is by responding to posts on the in-character list.  There are many players who chose not to become involved in this aspect of the game, and doing so is not necessary.

Event

An Event is a gathering at which players participate in the game of live action roleplaying. They often have plots with which the players can interact.   Events generally fall into one of three categories, questing events, which revolve around plot, tournament events, which focus on organized competition, or feasts.  Events that combine two or more of these types of events also occur and are common.

Event Announcement

Announcements about Realms events, and practices are posted at www.realmsnet.net.  These contain information on the type of event advertised, if preregistration is required, and specifics on the logistics of the event.

Event Holders

Event Holders are the people who organize the events. Every event has an event-holder. They are the ultimate authority at their event.

Feast Gear

Feast gear is the equipment that you may wish to bring with you when you'll be eating a meal at an event. It includes such items as a plate, a drinking vessel, and eating utensils. While feast gear is seldom required and paper products are often provided, bringing these items adds atmosphere and selection of these provides an opportunity to express your character.

Garb

Garb is the term used to refer to your character's costume. If you chose to play multiple characters, each should have visually distinctive garb. garb. garb. garb.  Players in Realms are sensitive to the fact that newer members of our community may not yet have authentic looking garb.  An effort to avoid clothes with logos and other items that detract from the fantasy world are appreciated. 

“Hold”

A “hold” is a pause in the game, called for safety reasons.  The specific mechanics of holds are explained in detail both later in this booklet and in the safety rules in the Omnibus.  It is ESSENTIAL that you read and become familiar with these rules.

Honor

Honor is a term used to refer to how well someone is playing by the rules. If someone is 'honorable', they take all their blows, don't hit hard, etc. etc. etc. etc.  Honor refers to how a player plays the game, not how their character behaves.  An honorable player may choose to play a character that is a “bad guy.”

IC

In-character (IC) is a term used to refer to actions and events that occur to you when you are playing your character at an event.

IC List

The in-character list is a mailing list established for characters to interact on-line. Out of character conversations should not occur here. To subscribe to the ic list go to the mailing list section of Realms Net (www.realmsnet.net).

LARP

In Live-Action Roleplaying (LARP) games, you adopt a created persona, or "character," for the purposes of playing the game. This persona has a name, a history and a personality that can be quite different from your own. The game is called "live-action" because you will be acting out your character's adventures. Live-action roleplaying is like improvisational theater. You have a part to play, but no one will give you a script. It's up to you to make it up as you go along. You may, if you choose, use your own name for your character and just be yourself at events. Not everyone is "into" roleplaying. It's up to you. The guiding principle of live-action roleplaying games is that you should be having fun. That's the bottom line.

Magic Marshal

The magic marshal is the individual who is responsible for assisting the Event Holder with the aspects of an event related to the magic system.  Their responsibilities usually include reviewing spell books, approving magic items at check in, and marshaling the use of spells throughout the course of the event.

Marshals

Marshals are individuals who are asked to help ensure the safety of combatants at events or practices. They are often asked to train new people, inspect and teach others how to inspect weapons, run tournaments and supervise combat. They are the key facilitators of any tournament event. The marshals are the referees.

Mundane

A mundane refers to either people or things that are not a part of the Realms fantasy world.  If an event is held in a public park you may hear the word mundane used to refer to the people in the park not involved in the event. Mundane can also be used as an adjective to describe an object. For example your mundane clothes refer to your clothes for OOC wear.

NPCs

Non-player characters (NPCs) are the roles, or parts, some people play to help event-holders present the player characters with enjoyable plots to interact with. NPCs often play monsters, like goblins, orcs and trolls for the players to try to defeat. They may also find themselves playing hermits, knights, mages and other more neutral NPCs that the players can try to get help or information from so they can succeed in solving the plot. Event-holders will generally ask more experienced players to play NPCs for them.

Omnibus

This is the official rulebook of the Realms.  This document is updated yearly during a meeting of all legal Event Holders from that year (the Event Holders Council.)  The Omnibus is distributed annually and can be accessed on-line at www.realmsnet.net.  This booklet is a guide, the Omnibus contains the rules.  If you find any discrepancy between them, you are obligated to follow the rules outlined in the Omnibus. In addition please email the current guide administrator at aegray@adelphia.net

OOC

Out-of-character (OOC) is a term used to refer to actions and events that occur to you when you are not playing your character at an event. You can have information about a plot out-of-character but not in-character, for example, if you overheard the information when you weren't playing your character.

OOC List

The out-of-character list is a mailing list established for players to interact on-line.  In-character conversations should not occur here.  This list is an appropriate arena to ask questions regarding interpretations of the rules. To subscribe to the ooc list go to the mailing list section of Realms Net (www.realmsnet.net).

PCs

Player Characters (PCs) are the people who go to events to have fun and play the character they have created for themselves. It is advisable to start eventing as a player character.

Plots

Plots are the stories that are created at events for the player characters to get involved in. A plot can be very simple or very complex. A band of brigands 'kidnapping' a maiden and asking for ransom money would be a plot. Plots can last for a few hours or can stretch for many events or even for years. For example, characters could quest for a special magic sword over the course of five seasons of eventing.

Raising

Raising is the term used for casting the in-character 'magic spell', Raise Dead, to bring a character back to life. If someone cast Raise Dead to bring your character back to life, they "raised" you.

Spell Casters

Spell casters are characters that have learned in-character 'magic spells'. Learning spells will allow them to do things that non-mages cannot do, but they will have disadvantages and weapons restrictions they will have to abide by as a trade-off. There are multiple paths of magic available to spell casters.  Each has different advantages and disadvantages.  It is often best to begin play as a fighter and look into the different paths in detail before beginning to learn spells.


The Honor System

One of the guiding principles of this system is that anyone allowed to play should be responsible and honest enough to be trusted to play by the rules; all the rules.

A marshal will not always be there to tell you if a sword blow has hit you. It's your job to be honest, and if you really can't tell, ask a marshal to work with you on developing this skill. It takes practice to learn to call your shots properly.  This should be the first skill you work on mastering.  People often do not point it out if they notice you not taking a hit, but they do notice.  If you do this regularly your reputation will be damaged.  It's extremely difficult to shake a bad reputation if you've earned it.

If you have a problem, you can speak with a marshal or an NPC, and if they cannot field your complaint or question, they should be able to refer you to someone who can.  You can go to the head marshal or the NPC coordinator, if you disagree with a marshal's or NPC's judgment. If you have problems dealing with them, you can go directly to the Event Holder. Hopefully, the Event Holder will have appointed individuals who are responsible and clear-headed to positions of authority and you will not have to go to the Event Holder at all. If you have a dispute with the Event Holder and cannot get him/her to see your way of thinking, you always have the option of leaving the event. If you ask nicely, you may even get your money back. If an Event Holder or a head marshal ever throws you out of their event, they probably had a good reason. Don't just assume they didn't. Talk to them later and try to find out what you did and what you can do differently in the future. It is very rare that someone is actually kicked out of an event.

Eventing

Safety is an important concern when eventing. If you have any medical problems, you should let the Event Holder know about them at the beginning of the event. If you ever need an inhaler or carry a bee sting kit, you should keep them on you at all times. Boffers is a very safe sport when played properly - it is up to you to do so. Inspect your weapons regularly. Read the combat rules and fight by them. Keep your temper and pull yourself from the event if you ever lose your temper.

There are many different types of events including feasts, quests, wars and tourneys. There are events that combine elements of all of these. Many events include night quests. So what should you expect?

Feasts 

At a feast, you may be bringing your own feast gear. You may not have a chance to clean them off before you go home, so bring a plastic bag to carry them in. You may have an opportunity to learn magic. There may be combat or tourneys, but then again, the site might be non-combat. You might enjoy a wonderful meal, or you might dislike the way the food was prepared. There might be bardic contests to enjoy or even enter. There might be non-combat games to play. Feasts are the most relaxed of events. People often go to feasts to socialize.  Court is often held at feasts.

Quests

At quests, there will be an objective for you to achieve. This may be to kill someone, to get something or to go somewhere. You may not be told what your quest is.  There might be lots of tough monsters that you can't kill. There might be lots of monsters that you can kill, but there are so many of them that you don't think you have a chance. You might wind up lying dead for an hour before someone stumbles upon your body. You might just save the day and become a great hero! You might be the one to figure out a puzzle, riddle or rune-set that has been stumping everyone else. Whatever you do, don't be shy. If you make friends and help other people, whether or not you swear fealty to them in-character, you've got a better chance of staying alive and a better chance of getting raised.

Wars

At wars, there will be lots of teams or groups looking for more support.  If the war is not between player groups, it will undoubtedly be against NPCs.  Again, you will have lots of opportunities to save the day and to help in small and large ways. Wars are often occasions where players will throw aside old rivalries to stand and fight the 'bad guys'. Unexpected invasions are especially good for getting the adrenaline pumping.

Tournaments

Tournament events are very different from other events. At tournament events, marshals help to organize and run tournaments. There might be sign up sheets, or the marshals might wait to sign people up until right before the tournament is run. The tournament might be single elimination or double elimination. There are other styles of running tournaments, as well, and marshals should be able to explain all the tournaments to you if you have any questions for them. If you are called for a tournament and you do not show up, you might be dropped from the list.  Always show the marshals respect.  The marshal’s word is final.  If you question a decision that they made, approach them after they are finished marshaling, but don’t argue with them while they are officiating.  It makes their job harder and seldom gets the results you want.  Generally, at the end of a tournament event, there will be an awards ceremony for the people who won tourneys that day.

Night Quests

Questing at night can be extremely intense. It is often easier to suspend reality and lose yourself in the fantasy of the game during these adventures.  They do, however, have potential safety hazards that you should take into considerations.  Cyalume (glow) light sticks or some other source of light often light the quest path.  Because people see poorly in this dim light, you should expect to hit and get hit in the face, groin and breasts more often on a night quest.  Keep in mind that no one tries to hit hard or in the wrong place at night, but accidents do occur more frequently.

Checking In


PreRegistration

Event Holders may require that you pre-register a certain amount of time before their event date. This usually includes sending in your money (generally a check or money order made out to the Event Holder) along with your name, the character that you will be playing, and any special abilities that your character may have (spells, magic weapons, etc.) Some Event Holders will accept cash if you give them pre-reg money for their event at another one you happen to see them at. Often an Event Holder will have an early pre-reg deadline, and if you send your money in by that deadline, you get in for a lower fee. If this is the case, make sure that you DO send the smaller fee BEFORE the deadline. Pre-registration is also the time that you should tell the Event Holder about any dietary restrictions you have if there is going to be a feast at the event. Always include contact information with your pre-registration, in case the Event Holder has any questions.

Event Holders that require that you pre-reg are doing so because they need to know how many people are attending their event. The number of people attending determines how many portable toilets the Event Holder needs to order, how many NPCs they needs to line up, and how much food they need to purchase.  Feast events are usually on a pre-reg-only basis, because the Event Holder needs to know how much food to buy.

Be respectful of the Event Holders and pre-register on time. If you discover you will be unable to attend an event you’re pre-registered for, give the Event Holder as much notice as possible, and understand that you will most likely not be able to receive a refund. 

At The Door

When you show up to an event, the first thing that you must do is find the check-in table or station. This is where you check in, pay (if you didn’t with your pre-registration), and sign a waiver. The waiver is a form that confirms that a) you understand the rules of the sport; b) that you understand that like any other sport there is the potential for injury; and c) that you will not hold the Event Holder or landowner responsible if you are injured at the event. Minors (people under the age of 18) need to have an adult sign their waiver for them. If you are a minor, it would be to your benefit to request the waiver from the Event Holder in advance for your parent or guardian to sign prior to your attending.  Most Event Holders will not allow you to attend an event if your parents have not signed a waiver.

If you are a spellcaster, you will need to check in your magic at the beginning of each event as well. The Magic Marshal will look over your spellbook to make sure everything is in order. Any magic items should also be checked in with the Magic Marshal at this time.  Realize that Event Holders/ Magic Marshals have the right to refuse to allow any magic item to work at their event or to change the powers that they have.  Do not assume an item works and use it, if you have not checked it in.  That would be cheating.

Reading of the Rules

Most events begin with the reading of the rules.  This includes the rules of the game as outlined in the omnibus, the site rules, and a review of any special information that is needed regarding the specific event.  This can include any unusual combat calls.  While it can be tempting to skip the reading of the rules once you are familiar with the game rules, the other items reviewed are essential to hear and understand, and vary from event to event.  Paying attention during the reading of the rules is not only polite but will help keep you safe and prevent misunderstandings.


Attitude is Everything

The attitude you bring into the Realms is going to have a great impact upon your experience in the Realms. If you are optimistic and ready to have a lot of fun, chances are good that you'll have a wonderful time. If you are expecting that you aren't going to have a good time, you probably won't. The best events are invariably the ones where most of the people attending showed up expecting to have a great time. The Event Holder can take credit for holding a really organized, well-planned event, but what makes it great is the energy that the players bring to it.

If you are coming from another system, or if you are going from the Realms to try another system, try to leave your expectations behind, and do your best not to make quick judgments. You may wind up having your first event be one of the worst planned, most poorly executed events of the season, or it might be the best event of the year. It might take a few events to get used to a new combat or magic system. It is important to remember that the Realms is far bigger than any one or two events, and that your attitude can have a great impact upon your enjoyment of even the worst events.

You should also have a deep respect for the affect you can have on others' enjoyment of an event. If you have a bad attitude and are disrespectful of an Event Holder or of the work marshals and NPCs are putting into trying to throw an event, it will make it harder for others to have a good time. Event Holders are constantly learning how to throw better events, and most lessons are learned the hard way - by making mistakes. Try to let them know what you think went well, and what they might have done better. If you approach them with the intention of trying to help them throw better events, while clearly appreciating the effort they put into making their event as fun as possible, they may hear and learn from what you have to say.

Although Event Holders appreciate feedback, it can be hard to find a time to share your thoughts at an event.  A wonderful option for providing feedback to Event Holders after their event is through the event review section of Realms Net (www.realmsnet.net).

In the end, it's up to you. Will the Realms be an exciting, wonderful place full of close friends that you would do anything for, and who would do anything for you? Will you look forward to every event with the expectation of finding new challenges to overcome and new stories to become a part of? Will you look for ways in which you can help to make the Realms a better place? Will you be a leader, a visionary, and a role model for those who will come after you?

These are very important questions, and they go far beyond the boundaries of the Realms. It matters not who you were. What matters is who you are and who you are going to be, and that is entirely up to you.


Roleplaying Basics

Good roleplaying can have a great affect on another player's experience at an event. You can get into the game much better if the people around you are staying in-character, and you can help others to get into the game by roleplaying well. Obviously, it's easier to do this with good NPCs and a well-run event, but good roleplaying can make an average event a lot more fun.

There are a number of guidelines to keep in mind about roleplaying. If you're not sure what to say, it's often better to say nothing at all. If you want to crack a joke during a dramatic moment, you should always ask yourself if you might ruin the mood of the moment for another player. Above all else, you should always ask yourself how you would act or what you would say if you were really your character, rather than just someone pretending to play a character.

One of the biggest obstacles to good roleplaying for new players is the feeling that the interesting plots never involve them. The best thing to do if you're feeling this way is to ask yourself how you can get involved in those plots. There is always a way. You might offer to help out the individuals who are more deeply involved in the plot. You could always go out of your way to challenge or to antagonize the "bad guys". Of course, it might not be obvious who the bad guys are and this might get you killed, but what's life without risks?

Another way to get involved is to get information about whatever plot is happening. There may be people you can talk to (PCs or NPCs) who might be able to tell you something helpful. There might be hints left around or scrolls to go find and, if they're in runes, translate or decipher. If you do get information, do not keep it to yourself. However, exercise judgment and share it with those who have treated you well and you trust will involve you in whatever is happening.

Avoid using terms like "plot", "NPC" and that sort of thing when you are roleplaying. If you talk about the event from an out of character perspective, you won't be roleplaying well. If you talk about it as if it's really happening, you'll find yourself slipping into character much more easily.

Creating a Character

Creating a character is nothing like creating a character in a traditional table top roleplaying game. There are no dice you have to roll. There's nothing to write down. The primary aspects of creating a character are choosing a name, thinking up a background, making weapons, and throwing together some garb.

Keep in mind that having a character with a deeply developed background is not required. If you're not into roleplaying, but just love to fight, it's OK to go to events for that. However, if you do love roleplaying, there is a lot you can do to develop an interesting character. Your character can have a very lengthy background. You can let other characters know about your history by singing about it in bardic competitions, or by writing stories about it.  You could even take a character from a table top game you were involved in. If you get some friends together and run during the off-season, you can all bring in a set of characters with a common history. You will be able to make inside jokes and roleplay the characters much better if you have a lot of common experiences to build off of.

If you do want to add depth to your character, think about the following things.  Where is your character from?  Why are they adventuring?  Where is your family?  Do you have siblings?  What are your spiritual beliefs?  How do you feel about magic?  How do you feel about other races?  How do you make a living? Even if you don’t share these details with others, having considered them, will help you determine how your character would react to situations.

Often it is better to play a generic character for a while and research the Realms world before creating a character with a detailed background.  Sure you could play a character that worships a god you have created, but if you worship a god from the Realms world there may be other worshipers, established temples and plots based around your deity.  Once you learn about the landscape and history, it is much easier to create a character that fits into the world.

When choosing a name, there are some things to keep in mind. Avoid traditional or literary references. Calling yourself Merlin, Elric, Conan or any other well-recognized name is a bad idea. Chances are, you won't live up to the name and you'll wind up being the butt of lots of jokes. It is perfectly acceptable to take names and change them slightly, like taking "Archenland" from C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader and changing it to Archendale, Archenvale, or something like that. Try to avoid names that are clearly not appropriate for the medieval fantasy theme. You may also want to ask around and see what names are in use in the game.  The original Blade may not appreciate someone sharing his name.  Also consider what nicknames could be made based on your character name.  If it can be done, it will.  A little research will turn up lots of possible names, but many common names will work fine. If your character has an ethnic flavor (Scottish, Viking, Moorish, Hispanic, etc.), choosing an appropriate name is wise. It is all right to mix the ethnicity of names, garb and backgrounds, as this is a medieval fantasy oriented game.

Making new weapons is not required. However, many players put symbols or insignia on their weapons so that those weapons are distinctly that character's. Your character could have a preference for certain weapons that would make him or her distinctly different from your previous character.

One important aspect of creating your character is designing your garb. If you are not good with a sewing machine, and all you can make is an oversized tabard or tunic (with sleeves if you're lucky!), there are still ways of making your character distinctive. If your last character had an oversized red and yellow tunic, make your next character an oversized purple and white tunic. Heraldry and color combinations are effective ways of marking your characters. Accessories are also useful. You could have one character always wear a beret. Then your next character would be made distinct by the fact that they would not be wearing a beret. If you're a man, you can grow a beard for a character, and when the character dies, have the next character only have a moustache. Consistency is an important part of making your characters distinctive. If your old character ALWAYS wore black, and NEVER wore anything but black, if you suddenly show up wearing white and yellow, people will have an easier time figuring out and remembering that you are no longer playing that old character.

If you have the connections, you can start off a character already 'hooked in' with a group. Your character could be the cousin or half-brother of an already existing character. In real life, people would have relatives, so why not in the game? Make sure you discuss at length what will be involved if you play a relative before you jump in, so that neither of you disappoints the other in any way.

A Matter of Life and Limb

In boff combat your body is separated into seven locations; head, chest, back, arms, and legs.  Shots that hit a unprotected limb remove the limb.If a shot removes your arm, you place it behind your back.  If a shot hits your leg, you may either pick it up or drop to your knee.  It is not ok to put any weight on a leg that has been removed.  Shots to unprotected kill areas, including your head, back, and chest, kill your character.  There are many more details about damage in combat, including how to react to shots to dead limbs, late shots, shots to off target areas, and more.  These are explained in detail in both the Omnibus and in A Complete Introduction to Boffers. I strongly encourage you to read these in full and review them with a veteran player before becoming involved in combat

There are some special weapons you need to know about. If you are hit by a beanbag, you take damage from it as if it were a sword blow, remembering that every point of contact counts. This includes times when a beanbag bounces off of your friend's shoulder and hits you - you must take the damage. Beanbags will only do damage when they are in motion. Once they come to rest, they are no longer dangerous. Beanbags represent Magic Missile spells. Since they are a physical representation of the spell, once they have come to rest on the ground, they are "no longer there" and should be ignored. Players may not throw beanbags unless they are spell casters and have learned the spell Magic Missile.

If a large foam block or a beanbag chair hits you, you have been hit by a boulder. Boulders instantly kill a player if they hit them anywhere.  Boulders also break all weapons, armor and shields that they come into contact with.  Players may not throw boulders.  Four players working together can drag a boulder off a person who is pinned by one.

Hits from poisoned weapons to unarmored locations kill you instantly if you are not protected by Immunity to Poison.  If you are protected by this spell, you still have to take the damage from the sword blow, but will not die due to the poison. Hits from diseased weapons (including killing blows) may not be healed until Cure Disease has been cast on you. That means that if you are hit on the limb by a diseased weapon, Heal Limb will not work until that limb has been cured of disease. Raise Dead will work on someone killed with a poisoned weapon, but will not work on you if you were killed with a diseased weapon until Cure Disease has been cast on you.

In addition to boulders, poison, and disease, which are standardized calls, Event Holders may have event specific combat calls.  These can include things such as fireball or mithral, which may be seen at many events.  These calls are not standardized and may function differently at different events.  Make sure you listen during the reading of the rules to find out how event specific combat calls work.  If you are unsure, call yourself dead and then ask.   

When you are killed in combat, you are “dead”. You should roleplay being dead. Just sit or lie down, put your weapon over your head and don't talk or move. Make sure to be aware of what's going on around you for safety reasons. You don't want to be stepped on or tripped over. When you are dead, you can be raised by the spell Raise Dead. Your soul is still with your body, so Raise Dead will work on you. Raise Dead heals all previous limb injuries. If you were diseased, you must be cured before Raise Dead will work. There may be special circumstances where more than one Raise Dead casting will be required to raise you. If you are dead and are asked if you look dead, and what injuries you have suffered, you must tell whoever is asking you. You remember everything up until the point of death unless you were scalped while dead.  You do not remember anything you hear or see while you are dead unless you are under the effects of a spell which allows you to do so.

When you are Raised, it is considered polite to say "Thank you".  Some Healers may request a coin or coins as payment. If you have no coin, you could choose to give them some at a later time when you get some, or you could "owe" them a favor of some sort.  Most healers do not request payment, but you will find if you thank them, and reward them occasionally, they are likely to keep an eye out for you, and notice when you need help.

When a Raise Dead is being cast, a weapon within a 10' radius of the caster negates the spell. If you are bringing a dead body to a healer, tell the body that you "Search it for weapons," and drop the weapons on the ground at least 15' from the Healer. Do not walk within 10' of a Healer when you notice him casting a Raise Dead (or anything else, if you aren't sure what he's doing) if you are carrying a weapon.

Health and safety should always be considered.  If you are out on a night quest, get killed, are lying in wet grass freezing, and are concerned about your OOC health, it is reasonable to put your sword over your head, (this lets those around you know you are not currently playing), and move into an area where you can find a member of the event staff.  Once you explain the situation to them, they will then instruct you on how to proceed.  It is never legal to decide you are alive or move the location where your corpse is, without being directed to do so by a member of the event staff. 

If you want to knock someone out, you can hit them in a kill location and say "Flat of the Blade!” or just "Flat!" for short. This will render them unconscious until they are "woken" in-character by someone or they count to 300. Please note that you cannot ‘Flat’ someone through their armor.

If you want to spar and not inflict damage on your sparring partner, make it clear with them that you're sparring. You can declare that you are fighting peace bound.  This represents that you have padded the blade of your weapon.   It would not be possible for you to rip this padding off and hit them with a damaging blow without their knowledge.   While there is no specific rule obligating you to state that you are no longer sparring before hitting someone to inflict damage, it isn’t realistic, and will upset people. 

If you want someone to be REALLY dead, you 'scalp' them. Scalping someone represents the act of mutilating a body to the point where the soul leaves the body and, therefore, cannot be raised. To scalp a player character, they must be dead, and you must strike the ground next to their body lightly two hundred (200) times. Upon the striking of the two hundredth blow, they are scalped. More than one person can scalp a body at once.  You may only scalp with weapons you could normally fight with. There may be some characters or non-player characters that take more or less than two hundred blows to scalp. There may be magical items or spells that enable a player to scalp faster. When you are scalped, a healer must successfully call your soul with Call the Soul (and a quest may be required) before you can be raised.  Simply casting Raise Dead will not work.

If your character ends an event scalped, they receive a “tick”.  If your character receives three ticks in a calendar year they have permanently “died” in game, and you will need to make a new character.  You are not allowed to bring this character back.  When starting a new character, you get nothing from your previous character. No spell credit, no titles, nothing. You may use the same weapons, but it is advised that you do not use the same garb, as it will confuse other players.  It will also be frowned upon if you chose to play the exact same character with a new name that has come to seek revenge on those who scalped you. It is EXTREMELY rare for a character to be ticked out of game.

If your character ends an event scalped they begin the next event you attend dead and scalped.  A successful Call the Soul will still need to be cast to retrieve your soul. Then one raise dead will need to be cast on your character for each event that has occurred since the event you were originally scalped at, whether or not you attended those events.

By the way, how do you get dead bodies to the healers? Well, they're heavy and really awkward to move (dead bodies, not healers...). No one should ever pick another player up bodily and actually carry them. It's too easy to hurt yourself (or the other person). For the purposes of carrying, you must be touching the person with one hand and say “drag”.  A dragged body cannot be used as a weapon or shield.   If you are engaged in combat, you must 'drop' the body to be able to fight.  A body is dropped, by saying “drop” to the player and removing your hand. A dragged body is considered one handed and may not be used as a weapon or a shield.

Currency and Theft

To add realism to the game, there are items that are considered 'stealable'. These items are considered to be the out-of-character property of the entire roleplaying community.  In-character theft is permissible only under certain circumstances. If you kill someone or come across a dead body, you may search it. There are two types of searches.  During the first type, a point search, you state specifically where you are searching, “The belt on your pouch”, “Your left pocket”, etc.  A point search does not wake a flatted character.  The other type of search, a full search, takes 120 seconds.  This represents the time it would take to thoroughly search a person.  A full search will wake a flatted character.  You search a body by saying to the individual playing the corpse, "I search you." The person playing the corpse then says, "Where do you look?" You then, verbally, roleplay the search.  Should two people be searching a body at the same time a point search will interrupt a full search.

A search should never involve physical contact between the two players.  When you are being searched, you are obligated to be honest about whether the searcher would have found something or not.  Another way to acquire in-character stealable items is by picking them up when they are left lying around.  If you acquire an item by picking it up, it is likely that the player who lost it, may think you stole the item, or that the former owner will try to assert ownership. 

Items that are generally stealable include currency, potions, and magic weapons and items. Currency usually takes the form of either coins or fake gems. Coins can actually be roofing tins, arcade tokens, poker chips or homemade coins. They can be 'backed' or 'unbacked'. Backed currency means that you can exchange the fake coins at a shop run by characters for goods. Unbacked currency is not supported by a shop or a group of people, but can be exchanged for whatever you can get for it. Coins are generally distributed by Event Holders who are providing 'backing' for them. While it may be tempting to go out and buy a box of roofing tins and be “rich”, you will find that only recognized currency released by an Event Holder has value in game. In addition it is considered cheating for a non-EH to bring unbacked coins into the Realms.

Some weapons are marked with the word 'stealable' on the blade. If a weapon is marked 'stealable' then it can be stolen in-character. Magic and silver weapons are the most common weapons to be marked 'stealable' by their makers, although anyone may mark their own weapons as 'stealable' if they choose to. If your weapon is marked as ‘stealable’, and it is stolen in-character, you should not expect the thief to bring the weapon back to you out-of-character later. You may not mark a weapon as being 'stealable' unless you own it. When you mark it as 'stealable' you are donating it to the community, and have no right to complain OOC if it is taken during the course of play. Magic weapons and silver weapons may only be created by Event Holders and by very powerful blacksmiths.  Event Holders also may release “in-house” items or weapons; these have special powers at that Event Holders event, but will not have them at other events. Magic items other than weapons may be created by Event Holders. Magic weapons will sometimes possess extra powers. The magic system does not give players the power to create magic weapons with extra powers. Event Holders may choose to disallow any magic item or weapon at their own event for any reason.  Event Holders may also modify the power of certain items. 

There are certain things you must not do when thieving. Peoples' tents are considered out-of-play. You should never steal something from someone's tent. You should avoid keeping stealable items in your tent when you don't need them. It's considered unsportsman-like conduct. If you have a magic sword, carry it with you or hide it somewhere in play.  Lastly, you should never steal in-character things in out-of-character situations. Do not visit a friend's house and steal their silver axe. Even if you're talking to each other in-character. In-character theft should only occur at events. Not at practices. Not at meetings. Just at events.

Non-Human Races

There are many races in the Realms world.  They include elves, drow (dark elves), dwarves, centaurs, and sea elves.  You can claim to be any race you want. It's OK, so long as you don't claim in-character advantages. You can use your roleplaying ability to help to set yourself apart from humans. Elves generally wear pointed elf-ears, which can be bought at costume stores or made out of make-up putty. They are best attached with spirit gum, an adhesive commonly used in theater. Dark elves and dark dwarves should wear black face-paint. Dwarves should be short, giants and half-trolls should be tall. You get the idea. Costuming supplies should be available at any costume supply store or on-line. 

Your claim of not being human will be more respected if you put effort into make up and roleplaying so that you look and act like whatever you're claiming you are. If you want to, you can learn spells through the spell system and roleplay the spells as racial abilities. You still have to learn the spells like everyone else, but it opens up a great many possibilities. For example, you can develop an elf character that is naturally immune to poison, and disease by taking the appropriate spells.  There are no limits to the races you can invent, so be imaginative and have fun!

You will almost definitely come into contact with non-human "monsters" during your time in the Realms. Don't always assume that creatures are necessarily evil - they may be friendly. It would be wisest to keep your guard up and not do anything hasty. There are certain color schemes that can help you recognize what a particular creature might be - Green (face paint or clothing) generally represents Goblins. Demons are generally red, Undead are usually white, and Trolls are most often brown. If you don't recognize something, feel free to ask those around you if they know what it is, and if it might be a threat.

Nobility and Titles

A common saying about titles in Realms  is that, “if you can claim it and stay alive, you can continue to claim it”.  While that might be the case, it is seldom wise. The greatest mistake players make when claiming titles is that they will claim a title to get the respect they think will come along with holding a title. Respect is earned, not claimed. Claiming a title so that you can enjoy roleplaying a noble is fine, provided you can handle starting over if you are killed and scalped. If you are a competent leader and have earned the respect of the Realms, you should be able to claim noble titles without much resistance. If you don't step on people's toes, they probably won't care. However, if you are self-important or arrogant and expect special treatment from people, you'll be running a greater chance of finding resistance to your claim. Obviously, in Medieval Europe, there were lots of self-important and arrogant nobles who encountered very little resistance. This, however, is community live-action roleplaying, not Medieval Europe. In-character, you are entitled to claim whatever you want. Other characters are entitled to react to you in whatever way they want to. It's roleplaying! Don't take it too seriously and you'll be fine.

You will have a better chance of getting support if you are a good role-model and provide support and assistance to those who have sworn fealty to you. This can take the form of combat training, healing, protection and in-character financial assistance. If you have followers who don't have tents, you can help them out by finding or lending them a tent to sleep in. If you have followers who don't have feast gear, you can lend or give them some. If you have followers who don't know how to make weapons, teach them how. One recommendation is that you should not allow people who have been to fewer than three events to swear to you. They should be able to see what other groups are out there before they make any commitments. Nobles are generally held responsible for the actions of their followers. This is not a rule, but a convention. You could easily play a corrupt noble whose followers are the worst rogues and brigands in the land. Your land can have a complex noble structure with many lands and followers. You could instead limit yourselves to just one warlord and one champion, regardless of how many people were in the group.

Knights and Squires

Claims of Knighthood can be extremely common in live roleplaying communities. There are a few things that should be said about knighthood. More than anything else, it should be EARNED. To become an in-character Knight, you will probably have to squire to another Knight. This squiring should involve at least a year of heavy eventing.

What is a Knight? Well, first of all, you are never 'made' a knight. The act of knighting someone is more the recognition that they have attained the quality of being a knight, rather than the advancement of them to the level of being a knight. You cannot make someone a knight. Only they can make themselves one. Being a knight involves the embracing of certain philosophies and attitudes that set knights apart from non-knights. What those philosophies and attitudes are vary from knighthood to knighthood, although there are some that are quite common. Most knights are quite fearless and quite serious about what their knighthood represents to them. Many knighthoods require their members to be honorable, chivalrous and truthful, but there can be 'dark' knighthoods that support acts of treachery. An order of 'dark' knights, or an order of 'chaos' knights has just as much claim to being a knighthood as an order of 'good' knights.

While anyone can start a knighthood, it takes many years for a knighthood to gain recognition and respect.  There are many quality knighthoods in game.  You will gain much more respect by squiring to a knight in one of these, than by starting your own knighthood. 

To whom should you squire? Choose someone you respect and someone you feel you can learn a lot from. Remember that they are under no obligation to take you as a squire. What do you have to do for them? You and your knight should discuss what your responsibilities will be. You might not be required to swear fealty to them. You cannot be required to do things that offend or bother you out-of-character.

What sets a knighthood apart from other groups or fighting units? Knights are generally asked to swear an oath, and abide by a code of conduct. These should be written down and any Knight should know it by heart. Knights are generally presented with a Knightly belt upon their knighting. This belt is often a wide, heavy leather 'ring belt', which is tied in such a way that the end of the belt dangles down between the Knight's legs. Please do not use plain white ring belts for your belt. White belts are reserved for Knights of the Realms and Knights of the Eternal Flame, in and out of character knightly orders. Knights are often presented with shields, magic swords, real swords, banners and other gifts upon their knighting


IC and OOC Knighthoods

There are Knighthoods that are both in and out of character.  One of these orders is the Knights of the Eternal Flame.  The Knights of the Eternal Flame are chosen for excelling in one or more chosen fields. That field may be fighting, magic, questing, commanding, strategy, feast holding, marshalling, thieving or even assassination. The Knights of the Eternal Flame wear a 2" wide white ring belt with the end painted with their character's insignia or symbol. You can only be made a Knight of the Eternal Flame by the Knights of the Eternal Flame. 

The oldest Knighthood is the Knights of the Realms. They are meant to serve and protect the Realms both in and out of character, and to be role-models to the community. They are sworn to "be true to themselves" and are chosen for their dedication to the support of the sport of light weapons combat and the game of live action roleplaying. There is no one mold from which a Knight of the Realms is cast, but all are dedicated to the preservation and continuance of the Realms. Many consider the title of Knight of the Realms the greatest honor that one can achieve in our game. 

The Knights of the Realms are selected from among the Knights of the Eternal Flame.  They are all current Event Holders, and active players attending a minimum of ten events a year.  Knights of the Realms must continue to meet the standards of the order to maintain their title.  If they are no longer an active player and Event Holder, they loose their membership in this order, but retain their membership in the Knights of the Eternal Flame. Knights of the Realms can be recognized by the fact that they wear a 2" wide white ring belt.

Knights of the Eternal Flame may chose to recognize the contributions that specific players have made to the game, by presenting them with a belt favor.  These favors are marked with a flaming ball. 


Magic


What Non-Mages Need to Know

You can use any legal weapons and any armor you want. You cannot cast any spells unless you have a magic item that allows you to do so. Non-mages cannot pick up beanbags (Magic Missiles) and throw them, or pick them up at all. 

You are normally not an enchanted being, and may pass through and break magic circles. If you are under the effects of a spell, you are considered an enchanted being. Enchanted beings are unable to pass through or break circles of protection, and must not advance on or strike at a magic user casting protection from enchanted beings.

Magic weapons may affect monsters as if they had no armor or other protections. This is not always the case, however. Silver weapons are lethal to some monsters who are unaffected by normal weapons. If a magic weapon is damaged by a boulder or if the foam is damaged to the point where it is no longer safe for combat, you must bring it to a mage who can fix it.

There is a spell called Create Poison. One of the poisons that can be created using this spell is called a Love Poison. Once consumed (usually you will be told that it had been slipped into some food or drink that you just finished,) it makes you fall in love with the first person you see for the next 10 minutes. You should roleplay this as if your character was suddenly infatuated with the first person he or she sees after consuming the potion. This doesn't mean that you need to behave in an unreasonable manner. You can choose to fall down dead from the potion rather than "fall in love," if you strongly feel you would be uncomfortable role playing the reaction. Remember, however, there are many types of love. Reacting to a poison is a great place ti ake use of creative roleplaying.

In 2004, the Event Holders Council voted to remove the option to call yourself dead to avoid reacting to sleep or truth poison. Unfortunately, there is a discrepancy in the 2004 Omnibus, and a sentence remains stating that you may, despite other areas of the Omnibus saying you may not. If you want to call yoursled dead to a sleep or truth potion, confirm that this is acceptable with and Event Holder or Magic Marshal before doing so.

All spells that might affect you should be explained by the caster - so you don't have to memorize all the spells in the game. However, after you have decided that you are going to be sticking around in the world of the Realms, it would be a good idea to acquaint yourself more with the magic system.


Safety When Eventing


The Safety Rules

The following rules are the official safety combat rules of the Realms. You will be expected to know the rules (although you don't have to have them memorized.) This set of rules is often read aloud at the beginning of events.

THE SAFETY RULES
The Safety Rules are Out of Character (OOC). They must be followed at all times. They are for our safety, and provide the guidelines that we should all be playing by.

The Rules We Play By
1. We should all be doing this to have fun. If you get mad or uncontrolled, it is up to you to remove yourself from the game. A marshal may remove you from the game if you do not.

2. This is a sport of personal honor; treat it as such. You are responsible for keeping track of many aspects of this game, such as weapon blows and known spells. Failure to report or accurately respond to any of these aspects is cheating, and a stain on your personal honor. If you are caught cheating, a marshal may remove you from the game or any combat.

3. You must listen to the marshals at all times, they are the referees.

4. If something looks unsafe, it most likely is unsafe. Report safety concerns to a marshal immediately. If you have any questions it is up to you to ask.

5. HOLD: If you see a harmful or unsafe situation, yell the word "HOLD" (i.e. someone is about to run into a tree, gets their glasses knocked off, has had their weapon really broken in combat, someone is about to fall off a cliff, etc...) If someone is injured, it is the primary responsibility of the person who is hurt to call a hold. Before calling a hold for someone else in an otherwise safe situation, you must first ask if they are all right. HOLD's should only be called in the event of a dangerous situation, and should never be used to discuss the rules. If you hear the word "HOLD", stop immediately, then say "HOLD" until everyone else has stopped moving. Once the emergency has been dealt with, a Lay-On (Continue Play) will be called either by a qualified Marshal, or the person who originally called the "HOLD". Do not resume play until a "Lay-On" has been called.

6. Only weapons and shields that have been made following the weapon construction guidelines are to be used. A qualified Marshal may be requested to check the safety of any weapons or shields at any time. Any new designs or materials must be checked by a marshal before use.

7. There is to be NO Real Steel in any combat situation, or in any potential combat situation, at any time. Real Steel is defined as metal knives, swords, axes, darts, spikes, spurs.... anything that could really hurt a participant. Real Steel that is "sheathed" is still a potential hazard.

8. Acts considered unlawful in the real world, such as theft of non-game items or assault, are also unlawful in the Realms. For the safety of all participants, any form of unwanted physical contact is strictly forbidden.

The Rules We Fight By

9. This is a 'lightest touch' sport. ANY contact with a weapon to a body is to be taken as a hit. Ignoring a 'light' blow is cheating, and a marshal may remove you from the fight. There are to be NO full strength swings. A marshal may remove you for excessive blow strength.

10. The Face (eyebrows to chin) and Throat area are 'off target'. Do not aim for these areas. If you are hit in these area's you may choose not to accept the blow, but you must call the location hit. (i.e. if you are hit in the face, call 'FACE' and keep fighting if you wish to.) This alerts both the other combatant and the referee that you have taken an illegal blow.

11. In combat, there is to be contact with weapons only. (i.e. weapons hitting weapons, weapons hitting bodies, and weapons hitting shields only.) There is to be NO body contact of any kind. (i.e. no shoving, punching, kicking, biting, grabbing, etc...) Do NOT grab an opponent's weapons and/or shield.

12. Do NOT charge. Charging is defined as running at someone so that they have to get out of your way to avoid illegal contact.

13. Shields are for blocking ONLY. Your Shield should never be used as a weapon. Punch blocking, shield bashing or contact with another person is unsafe.

14. Pommels, no matter how padded, are not legal striking surfaces. Do not punch or thrust with the pommel of a weapon.

15. Do NOT ever throw a weapon at a participant, unless that weapon is of a type (magic missile, javelin, lightning bolt) sanctioned by the rules for throwing. No thrown weapon or missile weapon should strike a participant above the shoulders.

16. Arrows should be drawn with minimal pull necessary to score a successful hit. Bows should NEVER be used to parry an attack. As with thrown weapons, arrows should not strike a participant above the shoulders.


The Hold Rule

The Hold rule is designed to stop combat at once if a situation becomes unsafe for any reason. If you hear anyone call the word "Hold," you must echo it by calling "Hold" loudly and simultaneously freezing wherever you are.   You may not talk or look around during a hold.  Talking or asking questions could confuse people, who are trying to get medical attention to someone who has been injured. Don't knock another arrow into your bow - this would be taking advantage of the Hold. Just stay where you are until someone calls a release from the Hold - the phrase for this is "Lay On." When you hear "Lay On" called, you should echo by calling "Lay On" - you may then continue with whatever you were doing before the Hold was called. (Sometimes, especially in a tourney situation, a marshal or the person who called the Hold will call "3...2...1...Lay On." In this situation, it is more common to call the "Lay On" aloud at the same time that the person counting down calls it.)

Anyone who needs to call a Hold may do so. If you are suddenly injured in battle and are in danger of being stepped on or of hurting yourself more seriously, you should call a Hold. If your glasses get knocked off, you should call a Hold. If you fall but are uninjured, quickly say to the people around you "I'm okay" so that they don't call an unnecessary Hold.  It is the responsibility of the person involved in a situation to call hold.  Do not call a hold for someone else unless they are clearly physically unable to do so themselves.  Many players take hard shots and chose not to call holds, when they feel like they can safely remove themselves from combat without interrupting the flow of play.  Unnecessary Holds impede combat and ruin the mood for everyone, but it is preferable to call an unnecessary Hold than to fail to call one that should be called. The Lay On is generally called by either the nearest Marshal or by the person who called the Hold.

Because Holds are often called due to an injury, there may be a need for the person who was injured to receive medical attention. If you need medical attention or you think the person who is down needs medical attention, the generally accepted cry is "Medical" or "Medic." "Medic" is an Out-of-Character call for assistance. You should NEVER use the term Medic when what you need is an in-character healer.

Marshals will sometimes say "Stop!" if they need to make individuals they are marshalling stop where they are, but they don't want to stop the entire event site.

Safety Considerations

Safety in the Great Outdoors

Think before you act. Don't go crawling into caves because you think they look neat. Don't drink the water in streams, rivers, or ponds, even if it looks okay. Don't eat berries or anything else you might find growing on site.

The Buddy System

This is a good idea for everyone at a very large site - it's easy to turn around a few times and end up lost. Unless you know the site very well, it's safer to travel with a friend or tag along with a group of people.

Food Allergies

If you have severe food allergies, make sure you ask the cook what ingredients are in dishes before eating them. Questions can be directed to the servants, who can certainly direct you to the person in the know if they can't answer your question directly.


Gear – Items to Bring to Events


For Comfort and Safety

Sturdy Footwear

Shoes, sneakers or boots with good ankle support and a thick sole are a necessity for outdoor events, and for indoor events that involve combat. Most boots have the added bonus of looking somewhat medieval as well. Combat boots are available from most army surplus stores and are designed to be able to take lots of abuse. Buy footwear that fits you properly, and wear good, comfortable socks underneath. Tall socks are a necessity if you're going to be at a site where there could be poison ivy or ticks.

Kneepads

Again, for any event where you intend to do any fighting, kneepads are a good investment. The thickly padded ones, such as volleyball kneepads, can help cushion your knee joints in case of a fall (especially on concrete or on hardwood floors) and are better than nothing; but the best choice is a kneepad with a thick protective (often plastic) plate. These are often sold in sporting goods departments of large stores, and are usually intended for rollerblading. The benefit of this type of kneepad is that in addition to providing support to your joint, it also will protect you if you come down hard on objects such as rocks, sticks, and tree stumps. Because kneepads do not look medieval, they are considered "invisible" for event purposes, and are not considered armor.

Medication

If you are medically required to use ANY medication, you should bring it with you when eventing, even if you think you won't need it. This includes bronchial inhalers, allergy medication, bee sting kits, and any other prescription meds. It also includes medic alert bracelets, which you should be wearing at all times when eventing if you require one.

Spare eyeglasses

Even if you always wear contacts, you should bring a spare, back-up set of eyeglasses with you when eventing. Contacts can pop out and get lost, glasses can fall off and get stepped on... unless your vision impairment is extremely mild, so that you can see well enough to function and drive a vehicle without your lenses, bring extras. You never know what might happen.

A form of I.D.

While this is not strictly necessary, it might not be a bad idea to have a driver's license or something in a pocket or pouch somewhere when eventing, especially if you're relatively new and not very many people know you. If anything happens, it's nice to know that people will know who the heck you are, so your relatives or a friend could be contacted in case of an injury.

Insect Repellant

Sun block


Camping Supplies

There are a number of things you'll want to collect in order to make camping out fun and comfortable. There are a lot of outdoor, "camping" events. These often run from Friday night through Sunday evening, and if you arrive Friday night this means you will be camping for two nights.

Camping can be an unpleasant experience if you aren't properly prepared. Even in the middle of the summer, when the temperature during the day reaches as high as 90 degrees, it can be exceedingly cold at night. And even on the coolest, breeziest, most picture-perfect day, you can end up with a terrible sunburn or suffering from dehydration. And then there are the weekends when it never stops raining...

Tent

You must have a tent sufficient for your needs. If you hardly ever go to camping events and you have lots of friends with big tents, then your needs may be so small as to make buying your own tent unnecessary. Just check ahead of time and verify that someone has space for you and your gear. If you have huge piles of weapons and garb, you'll need a bigger tent than if you are a minimalist. Get your tent from a reputable store that you can go back to if there are any problems, and make sure to speak with a sales clerk about how to properly rain-proof the tent that you buy.

Sleeping gear

This includes a sleeping bag or bedroll, and possibly pillows and an air mattress. Buy a decent quality sleeping bag if you can possibly afford to - it can get very cold during the night, even during the warm summer months, and you don't want to freeze. Some people get by just fine on a few blankets rolled up together though. Pillows, either air pillows or regular ones, are your own choice. If you like them, bring them. If you don't have space to pack "extras" like pillows, you can always use a pile of your garb in place of a pillow. If you have a large tent and plenty of vehicle space for toting lots of gear around, an air mattress can make camping and eventing a much nicer experience - especially after a hard day in the tourney fields. Get a hand or electric pump for blowing it up unless you'd rather spend two hours of the event wrestling with the mattress.

Clothing

It's better to pack a few too many items than not enough, and not a bad idea to leave one change of clothes and an old pair of sneakers in the trunk of your car in case a rainstorm hits and everything else gets soaking wet. Pack some warm things for the evening, especially if you're going to be nightquesting. A pair of wool socks and some long underwear would not be out of place. Also pack some light but skin-covering clothes for during the day; that way you won't be torn between being cool and being sunburned. Bring at least one extra pair of shoes!  Don’t forget mundane clothes if you want those for times you leave site or the ride home.

Food

Many players chose to leave sites during breaks to get food.  This is not always practical as many sites aren’t in highly populated areas.  You might want to bring some of your own food, to supplement tavern fare. Some good things to bring include sturdy fruits (apples) granola bars, trail mix, dried fruits, bread, cheese, pepperoni, and some type of drink mix. You'll therefore need something to mix your drink up in - a small beverage cooler will suffice. Things like the cheese and pepperoni need to be refrigerated - a small cooler with a bag of ice or some ice packs will be great... and you can always get more elaborate later on. Small propane cookstoves can be used to cook hamburgers and hot dogs, kielbasa, and even steak. Chicken is probably best saved for meals at home due to its high perishability. Donuts and fruit are good for breakfast, and you can throw a quart of orange juice into your cooler as well.  Keep in mind that if you choose to bring food to a site, you should have a plan to keep it from becoming animal food, and remember to dispose of all of your trash properly.

Personal items

Since these items are "personal," you'll have to decide which of them you want to bring, and which additional items you want to add to the list. Towels, washcloths, shampoo, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, flashlight, contact lens solution and storage kits, toilet paper, kleenex, bandaids, etc.

Feast Gear

Most people will recommend bringing feast gear to a feast.  Some feast may not even provide any paper products for those who did not bring gear.  

Most of the supplies listed in this section can be easily purchased at any store near you. Stores that tend to yield great finds include craft and pottery shops, Pier 1 Imports, Marshalls, and HomeGoods. Also try your local flea market, Salvation Army store, and yard sales.


The Bare Minimum

A plate or bowl

If you have one of these, you can get by. You can eat stew off a plate or from your drinking vessel, or you can eat roast beef from a bowl, but you must have one or the other. A wooden or metal "trencher", or plate with high edges, is a good compromise. Typical materials for plates and bowls include wood, pewter, and pottery.

A drinking vessel

If you have to start out with only one, you're best off to have one that can hold both hot and cold liquids, so that it can serve a variety of functions. A wooden mug is good for this. Typical shapes for drinking vessels include horns, goblets, and mugs. Typical materials are wood (which cracks with washing eventually if you don't take care of it properly,) pewter or other metals (which are sturdy but conduct heat and therefore are less than ideal for hot beverages,) and crystal (which looks pretty but, obviously, breaks easily.) You may also be able to find goblets made from pottery, or from acrylics fashioned to look (sort of) like crystal.

A decent sharp knife

You may often be required to cut a serving of something for yourself from a group platter, whether it be roast or fowl or a large piece of cheese. You can always ask someone else to cut a piece off for you with THEIR sharp knife, but it would just be better to have your own.  Make sure to buy a knife that comes with a sheathe, so you don't end up sticking yourself (or someone else) accidentally.


Fancy Additions

From the bare minimum, you can move on to less necessary supplies. Many of them are nice to have, and it can help you to stay in-character if you surround yourself with medieval-style items. The best part is, you can make many of them yourself, or buy them second-hand at shops or flea markets.

Utensils

These include forks and spoons as well as chopsticks, which many people prefer. You can find chopsticks at some Asian grocery stores or supply houses. Other utensils can be found at home stores such as Pier 1 Imports. Our typical 4-tined fork of today was not yet being used in medieval times - 3 tined forks are more period - but the 3-tined ones can be very difficult to find, and no one will give you a hard time over a 4-tined fork. Spoons were often much more shallow-bowled than the ones we use today. Appropriate utensil materials include wood and metals (especially gold-toned, which is very pretty.) Chances are good that some relative of yours has some old flatware in the attic with pretty floral or scrollwork designs on it, that will do just fine.

Napkins

Cloth napkins are very useful at feasts. Dark colors work well (because they will inevitably become stained.) You can buy cheap ones or make your own with material from fabric store.

Tablecloths

Your tablecloth doesn't have to fit a specific sized table, but it's nice to have something to spread out under your feast gear on a picnic table, or on the grass if there are no tables. The cheap vinyl ones look awful and tear easily - get a cloth one. Again, dark colors are best (and if you can find one in your character's colors, even better!) and you can always make your own with cloth from the fabric store. You really don't even need to hem it.

Candle holders

A multitude of candles flickering around you during a feast really do something to set the mood.  While tall elaborate holders for numerous taper candles look dramatic, they are best reserved for indoor feasts only because they get knocked over rather easily. Please confirm with the EH of the event before assuming it is ok to light candles in the feast hall.  It is wise to place lit candles in the center of the table, since long sleeves on garb can brush near them and catch fire. Smaller candles in enclosed containers (glass jars, votive holders) work best, and stay lit better if there's a breeze. Citronella candles usually come in their own jars, and have the added benefit of discouraging insects. No matter what, never leave a candle burning unattended - if it is your candle, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure it is put out.

Decanters/Bottles

If you like to bring a supply of your own beverage to a feast, you should have an attractive dispenser for your table. You can often find colored glass bottles with stoppers in house wares departments at many stores, and neat flasks at flea markets. Keep your eyes open.

Basket/Chest

Now that you've collected all this neat gear, you need a way to transport it to and from events. Many people use picnic baskets, with or without lids, since they are light and relatively inexpensive to buy. Wooden chests look more impressive, but are harder to find and, once loaded up with your supplies, are often heavy to tote around.


Garb on the Cheap and Easy

What do you do for garb on a low budget, if you don't sew, or only sew at a beginner level??
Fortunately, a little ingenuity goes a long way. This article includes ideas for garb for men and women, for fighting and feasting, for warm weather and for cold. Generally, if the shape of the garment is more or less correct, it will pass for garb.  The list here is far from exhaustive. Use your imagination. Add trim. Remember: the most important thing is that it has a garb "feel".
Don't be limited to what was worn in history. If you wanted history, you could join the SCA. The great thing about the world of Boffers is that it is fantasy.

Tops

Summer fighting garb: Take an extra large t-shirt without a front pocket or an extra large men's undershirt. Cut off the sleeves and cut away the ribbing at the neck. The same may be done with sweatshirts in cooler weather, but instead of cutting off the sleeves, just cut off the cuffs. This ragged look is especially appropriate for beggars and rough fighter-types.
Simple t-tunics are easy to make, and can cost as little as ten dollars. T-tunics can also be made long and wide enough to wear alone as a robe by men or as a simple dress by women. If you tuck the hem at each side up into the belt, suddenly they are appropriate for indoor fighting. For men especially, it's a great early Medieval look.
Sources for dashing, piratical, romantic garb shirts with long flowing sleeves, ruffles, etc: women's nightgown racks in department stores. (Cut and hem it if necessary.) Also, Victoria's Secret carries some beautiful cotton poet shirts that make terrific feast garb shirts, but they're not cheap.  There are many places on-line where you can buy garb as well.


Shoes and Boots

General shoe shape for men and women are boots to the ankle or to the knee, either the fringed, laced variety sold at Renaissance fairs or the kind of ankle boot that are in fashion now. The simpler the cut, the better. For non-combatants, Chinese slippers are good. They aren't period, but are bland enough to be ignored. Thigh-high boots make miniskirts wearable in the woods and protect the legs against bugs and thorns.
Men:  If you don't have boots, wear loafers or rubber-soled leather slippers that come up to the ankle and have the seam up the middle front (sold by Land's End, L.L. Bean, etc.). Avoid sneakers.  Or if you decide you want the comfort of sneakers consider cutting the top off boots and attaching them over your sneakers.  You will see many people who do this.  It allows for comfort, but gives the appearance of garb.
Women: You may already own a variety of shoes, some of which may work for garb. If not, try the ideas listed above, or any of the wide variety of women's shoes in garb-like styles.
If you plan to fight in these shoes, be sure they provide sufficient protection to your foot as well as giving arch and ankle support! Keep in mind that women's shoes are generally of poorer quality than men's shoes.


Headwear and Accessories

It is wise to cover your head when you're in the sun all day. An easy way to do this is to cut apart an old hooded sweatshirt to make a warm hood with attached shoulder cape. A scarf around the head works well and is piratical.
For womens' belts, a large fringed scarf, folded in half diagonally and tied to the hips, or a wide piece of leather supple enough to lace around your waist, following the curve of your waist, both work nicely. For either men or women, a long piece of belt, webbing or leather can make a long tongued belt cheaply and simply. Check out dime stores and garage sales for fantasy belts or belts with paste gems, etc., to wear with feast garb. A baldric, a belt worn diagonally from the shoulder to the hip, supporting a sword, horn, etc., adds dash to any costume.
Pouches, rings of keys, pomanders, mirrors, fans and mugs were all dangled from belts at one time or another. Mages might want to consider carrying an array of tiny pouches, holding your hoard of magical components.  When planning what to attach to your belt, consider how physically active you are planning to be, an item that can comfortable enhance one person’s garb can be inconvenient or unsafe for an active fighter.


Special Garb Solutions for Women

Women's historical clothing is not made for fighting in. Historical men's costumes are practical and comfortable, and many women are perfectly happy in it. Other women are unwilling to dress in men's costume and want a costume idiom of their own.
Skirts can, in fact, make fine fighting garb for women, provided that they are short enough to allow freedom of movement, preferably to the knee or above. If they are long, they must be slit to the knee and must not be full enough to impair movement. Think about skirts in pieces over opaque cotton tights, like a skirt made of scarves or of long strips of cloth. Miniskirts work for indoor fighting or for limited fighting outdoors, especially if the legs are protected from the sun, bugs and thorns.
For simple "lady garb", all you need is a long skirt, the longer the better, but at least to the ankle. The historical difference between a wench and a lady is that a wench wears her skirt above the ankle. Bust, neck and back may be shown, but the legs maynot. Unfortunately, good lady skirts are not commercially available, and must usually be constructed, especially for use as garb. Fortunately, skirts are not difficult to make. Ladies are also likely to wear their hair covered with a veil, a hat, or a hood. One of the benefits of wearing lady garb is that it doesn't matter what kind of shoes you wear under a long skirt.
Harem-dancer style clothes are cool and convenient for non-combatant women in the summertime. Watch out for sunburn, though.


Unusual or Non-European Garb

Long culottes have an oriental flavor -- how about a wide-brimmed straw hat to keep the sun off in the summer? Try kimonos and other wrap-around tops. Books on Japanese costume may satisfy some of your needs for creativity.
Women or men can assemble gypsy garb from their closets or from what can be cheaply bought. Be inspired by color and pattern, and remember that it doesn't have to match. Indian clothing stores are full of garb-like shirts, scarves, pants, skirts and so on, all of which can be mixed, matched and layered.
Go to yard sales and flea markets. You'd be surprised at what you find. People have been garbed in things as unusual as what used to be a sheep fleece jacket, with the lining torn out and the sleeves and collar cut off, for that barbarian look. Barbarians can wear what they dare -- faux fur tank top and miniskirt, or leather.
How about Greek or Roman garb for the summertime? Cotton gauze is lovely, cool and shady to wear, and it has a lovely drape. Some costume books have several pages of instructions on various ways to wear togas and the women's equivalent.
Kilts make great garb. You can either go for the modern type of kilt (i.e. a wrap-around skirt pinned in the front), or you can use a large piece of tartan or plaid fabric to wrap the traditional full dress kilt. There are instructions here and there for the full dress kilt, which is wrapped.
Mages can get away with wearing just about anything that makes them look mysterious or magical. Mage robes are essentially the same shape as graduation robes; use a graduation robe as your pattern or alter an existing robe to suit your style with trim, glitter, paint or appliqué. Bathrobe patterns work too, though actual bathrobes will likely get you mocked.


Sources of Inspiration

If you're new to Medieval Fantasy, here are some films, books and musical artists that many LARPers have found inspiring.


Movies

Braveheart

Mel Gibson directs and stars. Gritty and often gruesome historical epic of William Wallace and the fight for Scotland's freedom from the British. Very well made, with great battlefield scenes - quite realistic, and not for the squeamish.

Rob Roy

Liam Neeson stars. Gripping historical tale of Rob Roy MacGregor's struggle against dishonest British nobles. Very realistic period piece with believable duels and an authentic feel.

Henry V

Kenneth Branaugh directs and stars alongside Emma Thompson and Brian Blessed. Extraordinary telling of Shakespearian classic with a powerful score - not to be missed, although the dialect occasionally makes it difficult to follow. Story is of the young English King Henry's war against France, culminating in the battle of Agincourt.

Othello

Kenneth Branaugh directs and stars alongside Emma Thompson and Lawrence Fishburne. Well made film based on the Shakespearian classic of the Venetian Moor who is lied to by his friend, Iago, into thinking that his wife had been unfaithful. If you read Shakespeare, or if you liked Henry V and Much Ado, see this film.

Much Ado About Nothing

Kenneth Branaugh directs and stars with Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves and Michael Keaton. Another Shakespearian classic - note that the dialect is not as intrusive as in many other films of the Bard's plays. Witty, exuberant tale of love, set against a backdrop of mistaken identities.

Cyrano deBergerac

Gerard DePardieu stars in this excellent adaptation of the classic Edmond Rostand play about the witty, long-nosed swordsman who longs for love. If that doesn't ring a bell - it's the same story as the Steve Martin film, Roxanne. This is in French, so be ready to read subtitles or put up with dubbing.

The Man of LaMancha

Starring Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren, The Man of LaMancha captures the dreamy spirit of LARPing, though it was not well received by critics.

The Name of the Rose

Sean Connery and Christian Slater star in this adaptation of a book by Umberto Eco. A 13th century Italian abbey is the setting for this film, in which Connery plays a sort of medieval Sherlock Holmes who attempts to solve a series of murders. Not fast paced or action packed, but well worth seeing.

Highlander

There IS only one.  A classic Fantasy starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery tells the story of a race of immortals whose destiny is to battle each other until eventually there is only one left. Excellent score, cinematography, locations, acting, effects,.... see this film, but do NOT see it's sequels (they're just not worth it).

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn stars in this classic telling of the Robin Hood legend. It's very well done, but very clean, in the style of the late 30s technicolor blockbusters. Definitely worth seeing.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Kevin Costner directs and stars with Morgan Freeman. Somewhat off-kilter version of the Robin Hood legend, with some liberties taken in the plot. Pleasantly exciting action scenes and dry sense of humor.

The Three Musketeers (1974 British)

Excellent, though hard-to-find, version of the Dumas classic. Starring Micheal York and Richard Chamberlain, this version is much grittier and more realistic than the recent Disney version.

The Three Musketeers (Disney)

Tim Curry, Charlie Sheen, Keifer Sutherland, Oliver Platt and Chris O'Donnell star. Action-packed tale of three members of the Musketeers who are joined by an eager recruit to protect the King of France. Nicely done.

Dragonheart

Dennis Quaid stars, alongside the voice of Sean Connery. Comedic adventure about a man who befriends a dragon, and their attempt to swindle money from villagers. Superb animation.

LadyHawke

Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Broderick star. Medieval fantasy about star-crossed lovers caught in an evil spell, and the young thief who befriends them. Powerful score and good acting.

First Knight

Sean Connery, Richard Gere star. Spotty rendition of the Arthurian legend comes across better on the small screen than it did in the theater. Worth seeing if you like Sean Connery, like films about the Arthurian legends and have a good sense of humor.

Excalibur

Excellent, stylish rendition of the Arthurian legend. Features Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson, though not in starring roles.

Knightriders (1981)

Unusual film about a traveling band of bikers that stage medieval fairs at which knights joust on motorcycles, and their leader, who tries to get them to live under an old-fashioned code of honor.

The Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

Classic film about 16th century Japanese village which hires professional warriors to fend of bandits. Inspiration for the Western, The Magnificent Seven. If you like this, Kurosawa has made many other films that would be of interest, including Ran, Throne of Blood, Rashomon and many more.

Dragonslayer

Fantasy-adventure about a sorcerer's apprentice who takes on the task of slaying a dragon, and finds that he is in over his head. Rather dark.

Conan the Barbarian

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars. A sword-wielding warrior seeks vengeance on the cult leader who enslaved him and massacred his village in this bloody adventure.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The British comedy troupe takes on the story of the Knights of the Round Table, Camelot, and the search for the Holy Grail. Exceedingly silly and thoroughly enjoyable.

The Court Jester

Danny Kaye stars as a phony jester who gets mixed up in romance, court intrigue and a challenge of arms. One of the greatest comedies ever made.

Army of Darkness

Bruce Campbell stars. Comic horror movie about a man time-warped to England's Dark Ages by the Necronomicon, where he must fight the book's army of skeletons AND try to find a way back to his own time. Really campy, and that's why it's so funny.

The Princess Bride

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright star. Fairy tale adventure about a young woman and her true love, who must find and rescue her after he was believed lost at sea. Witty comedy, with fun swashbuckling scenes.

Mazes and Monsters

Tom Hanks stars. College students who decide to take their version of D&D a step further and play in the caverns near their school are thrust into a nightmare when one of their players suffers a breakdown and disappears. A very tame, made-for-tv movie.

Willow

Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer star. A simple villager with dreams of becoming a Wizard joins forces (reluctantly) with a swashbuckling warrior to deliver an infant Princess to safety. Some good fight scenes.

Labyrinth

David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly star. A Jim Henson's Creature Shop adventure in which a young girl must rescue her baby brother from the King of the Goblins by navigating her way throught a giant maze.

The Hobbit (animated)

Excellent animated telling of Tolkien's classic tale. If you don't know, it's the story of the adventures of a hobbit (or halfling, if you prefer) who journeys with a band of dwarves and a wizard to reclaim the dwarves treasure from a dragon.

The Lord of the Rings (animated)

Tolkien's trilogy (to which The Hobbit is a prequel) condensed and made into a full length animated feature. Very good, but not as good as The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings tells the story of the quest of a Hobbit to destroy a magical ring of great power and even greater evil.

Castle (D. Macaulay)

Documentary-style piece designed to teach children (and adults!) the history of how castles were built in the Middle Ages. Live shots of the narrator at actual castles interspersed with animated sections - fascinating!

The Last Unicorn (animated)

Peter Beagle's tale of a lone unicorn who begins a journey to find the others of her kind, who have been imprisoned by a King; she is joined by a bumbling magician and a weary, jaded wench. Gorgeous animation.

Lord of the Rings- The Fellowship of the Ring

The first book in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, brought to life by Peter Jackson.
Amazing effects, scenery, and character development.

Lord of the Rings- The Two Towers

The second book in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, brought to life by Peter Jackson. See above.

Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King

The third and final book in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, brought to life by Peter Jackson. See above.


Books

·         The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
·         The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien
·         The Heralds of Valdemar trilogy - Mercedes Lackey
·         The Last Herald Mage trilogy - Mercedes Lackey
·         The Elric series - Michael Moorcock
·         The War Hound and the World's Pain - Michael Moorcock
·         The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
·         Life in a Medieval Town - Joseph and Frances Gies
·         The Once and Future King - Mary Stewart
·         The Sword in the Stone - T.H. White
·        The Sword of Shannara - Terry Brooks
·        The Way of the Sword - Miyamoto Musashi
·        The Art of War - Sun Tzu
·        The Black Cauldron series - Lloyd Alexander
·        The Deed of Paksenarrion - Elizabeth Moon
·        King, Warrior, Magician, Lover - Moore and Gilette
·        The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
·        The Narnia series - C.S. Lewis
·        The Belgariad - David Eddings
·        The Alanna series - Tamora Pierce
·        The Sleeping Dragon - Joel Rosenburg
·        The Secret Country - Pamela Dean
·        The DragonLance series
·        SwordDancer - Jennifer Roberson
·        Her Majesty's Wizard - Christopher Stasheff
·        The River of Dancing Gods - Jack Chalker
·        The Xanth series - Piers Anthony
·        The Thieves World series - Robert Asprin
·        The Fafrd and the Grey Mouser series - Fritz Leiber
·        Silverglass - J.F. Rivkin
·        Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain
·        The Dark Elf Trilogy- R.A. Salvatore
·        The Wheel of Time series- Robert Jordan


Music

·         Clannad - Legend (soundtrack from the BBC series Robin Hood)
·         Loreena McKennitt
·         Cordelia's Dad
·         The Chieftains
·         Enya
·         The Pogues
·         Altan
·         Jethro Tull - Songs from the Wood
·         Sarah McLachlan - Touch
·         Silly Wizard
·         Steeleye Span
·         Stan Rogers
·         October Project - October Project
·         Sting
·         Enigma
·         Queen - It's a Kind of Magic
·         Soundtracks from any of the films